All you want is one night — just one night — where you get to sleep. Instead your sleep partner is snoring away. It’s loud. It’s annoying, and it’s keeping you awake.
That’s when you notice something else. It sounds like your partner stopped breathing, at least until the loud snoring starts again.
You’ve heard of sleep apnea, but you don’t know if that’s the problem. Whatever it is, you want it to stop.
If your partner does have a sleep apnea, we can help him or her, and we can help you get the rest you need. The people of Southern New Hampshire deserve a good night’s rest, and our staff at Nashua Family Dentistry wants to help you get it.
Types of sleep apnea
Apnea comes from a Greek work that means “without breath.” Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing while they are asleep, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.
There are three major types of sleep apnea. They are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea — The most common type of sleep apnea occurs when your muscles relax while you sleep. This blocks your airways while you rest.
- Central sleep apnea — Sometimes sleep apnea starts in your head. In this type, your brain isn’t sending the correct signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome — If you have elements of both obstructive and central sleep apnea, then you have this condition.
People with sleep apnea are not getting quality sleep (and in many cases, neither are their loved ones). When you aren’t breathing, your loud and repetitive snoring is your body’s way of trying to breathe again.
Many people with sleep apnea also wake up frequently throughout the night, and this may mean you never get the benefits of deep, restful sleep.
This is why you may feel tired even when you wake up and throughout the day. This can leave you feeling irritated, and it can affect your ability to focus at work or at school. You may even feel like you are falling asleep at your desk or, worse, behind the wheel of an automobile.
Some other common symptoms of sleep apnea include waking up abruptly (which could indicate shortness of breath) and waking up with a sore or dry mouth.
If untreated, sleep apnea can also contribute to other health issues. These can include cardiovascular problems, headaches, and high blood pressure, just to give a few examples.
And as you may already know, when someone doesn’t sleep well, it affects the people around them, too.
Get diagnosed, get help
If you are concerned that you may have sleep apnea, we can help you conduct a home sleep study. This will help determine if you or someone you love has this condition.
One of the most common treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. CPAP is an acronym for continuous positive airway pressure. This keeps your airways open so you can breathe, as long as you wear the mask for the machine.
This is a problem for many people with sleep apnea. Some find the mask uncomfortable. Others take it off in their sleep, and still others don’t or won’t wear it.
Another option may be an oral appliance. We can create a custom-fitted mouthguard that you wear while you sleep. This appliance will change the position of your jaw to keep your airways open so you can breathe easier.
If you do have sleep apnea, you should know that our team with do what we can to help, including working with a sleep physician to find the best solution for you.
Importance of healthy sleep
The American Sleep Apnea Association has information on its website about the different sleep cycles that are part of healthy sleep.
Throughout the night, you should go through cycles of REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep. You need both types of sleep to feel fully rested.
When you have sleep apnea, you may never reach the deepest stages of your sleep cycles.
If you have any concern that you may have sleep apnea, please come talk to us at your earliest convenience. If you won’t do it for your own sake, please do it for the people you love.
Just as you need to sleep better, so do they. While you may not be aware of it, your loud snoring is hurting their ability to sleep well, too.
Take the first step to better sleep by calling us at 603-546-7460 or using our online form to make an appointment. Nashua Family Dentistry wishes you a good night’s sleep every night.